Weekly Feature

2017-09-07 / Education

Cleveland Hill launches new district website

by ALAN RIZZO
Reporter

On Sept. 1 — and after more than 10 years without an overhaul — Cleveland Hill unveiled a new district website, which staff said is now more user friendly for students, parents and the community.

Created by the district’s technology staff with help from Erie 1 BOCES and powered by Blackboard’s Centricity web service, the website includes a variety of new features, including dedicated pages for each district school and technology that makes the site more accessible for people with disabilities.

Larry King, the district’s director of technology, said compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements was the main reason for creating the new site.

“That’s becoming a hot topic for public entities and schools now, because there are people out there reviewing your compliance, and reporting if you aren’t within compliance,” he said. “There’s no fiduciary penalty right now, but you can see that coming if it becomes a hotter topic.”

King said compliance means that pictures with links on the website now include text labels, and soon all PDF files that have been posted will be scannable by text to speech software.

He said the website will also be scanned by a program called Siteimprove to make sure it remains compliant with the ADA, and is free of bad links.

Along with accessibility features, the website includes distinct pages for each district school, which feature photo carousels, announcements and a variety of school specific links to lunch menus, calendars, and teacher web pages.

Katie McIntosh, the district’s webmaster, said that’s the main change parents will see when they log on, and she’s still working on adding middle and high school photos to the carousels.

“Being that it’s something new, I need to get more of the teachers and the staff to send me images,” she said. “I anticipate after the first few weeks, I’ll have a lot of homecoming and pep rally pictures.”

Additionally, McIntosh said because the new site is run through Blackboard, it will look better on mobile devices such as iPhone and iPads, and will eventually have an associated app which will roll the site and some important features such as the district’s parent portal app into one.

“Parent portal has its own app also currently that most of the students and parents have,” she said. “This will actually combine the website and the parent portal app, and all the district information onto one app.”

King said the new website will cost the district $6,495 per year, about 70 to 80 percent of which will be covered through Erie 1 BOCES.

“By doing this, we’re getting BOCES aid on it, which we weren’t getting for the past 10 years,” he said.

To view the new website, visit httpwww.clevehill.org/, or search for “clevehill.org” in Google.

email: arizzo@beenews.com

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